Every college student struggles with the anxiety of looking for the perfect summer internship. Spring is right around the corner; thousands of students will be swarming the interwebs to look for dream internships that will get them paid.
Here are 10 tips to help you begin your journey into the paid internship world.
1. Gather Your Cover Letters, Resume and Recommendations
How can you be prepared to start searching for internships if you don’t have your materials together? Writing out your cover letters, tweaking your resume and gathering trusted sources will help begin your journey into finding the right internship for you. “Make sure you get your resume looked at by a professional at your school. That really helped me because the formatting on my resume looks a lot better now,” said Allison Clark, a junior at Drake University. Try to get as specific and detailed as possible for each of these, as recruiters are looking for the candidates that stand out from the vast piles of applicant’s paperwork.
2. Research Internships
Before you apply, there’s a lot you need to know. This includes the responsibilities, the time frame, the possibility of payment and just about anything else. During your internet search, using keywords and filters to narrow your findings can help you discover the right internship tailored to your needs. Searching on specific platforms with inbuilt internship search filters ensures that you don’t spend hours and hours of your time scrolling through the internet. You don’t want to blindly apply to every single opportunity you come across as there are some that might not be exactly what you want. At the same time, make sure to apply to many good opportunities that fit your interests.
3. Network with Contacts
Networking with familiar people can help steer you in the right direction of a paid internship. Maybe you know someone you went to high school with who has experience at the internship that you are interested in. Or maybe other people in your life have connections outside of your social network. Professors, student teachers, college alumni or advisors may also have contacts that you are interested in connecting with. Gather your contacts and start writing emails or conducting phone calls that can help you increase your chances of finding an internship.
4. Use Your Campus Resources
Take advantage of available campus resources to help find an internship that’s right for you. Visit your career center or its website to see if they’ve posted any opportunities for students. If you have trouble navigating this process, reach out to staff for anything you might need. “Asking your career center to practice mock interviews with you can help you be prepared for a variety of questions that may be asked,” said Isaac Ceballos, a former student of Fresno City college. Another great way to use campus resources can be to attend annual campus career fairs where dozens of companies set up a booth to talk to students about their future. This can also provide a great opportunity to network with other professionals and discover new internship opportunities that you may have glossed over.
5. Apply to Paid Internships
This is the moment everyone’s waiting for. Applying to the internships of your dreams can be stressful and anxiety-inducing. Make sure you carefully read the application instructions to ensure that you won’t make a silly mistake that can potentially harm your application. Check your application for any misspellings, missing information and ensuring that you are properly inserting information in the right area. This will demonstrate your attention to detail.
6. Follow Up with the Internships
Once you have applied to your desired internships, follow up by either calling or emailing with a simple thank you and potential questions. If you haven’t heard back from them in about a week or so, a follow-up can remind the recruiter that you’re genuinely interested in the position. This can increase your chances of receiving news about the internship position sooner and help you feel more relieved.
7. Ace the Interview(s)
Applying to dozens of internships and finally receiving a call back from the recruiters saying they want to move along into the interview process can be like taking a breath of fresh air. Obviously, this doesn’t mean you have the internship just yet, but preparing for the interview certainly gives you a higher chance of landing it. The most successful interviews are ones where interviewees ask thoughtful questions and show their stunning array of skills and qualities. Make sure you dress presentably, give powerful answers and ask questions about the internship and company. Finally, make sure to remember that the interview is just a friendly conversation where you can be yourself.
8. Send A Thank You Note or Email
If the interview went really well, writing a thank you note or email can seriously help your chances. Taking the time to do this within 24-48 hours of your interview can let the recruiter keep you fresh in their mind. In your note, thank the recruiters for reading your application and making time for an interview. Express your enthusiasm for a potential position in the company. A simple thank you can easily help seal the deal. Even writing something specific about how the interview went or a connection shared can really make the difference.
9. Continue to Apply
Applying to multiple internships in case one doesn’t work out broadens your chances at scoring an internship. Following the previous steps to make sure you’re showing recruiters you’re capable and excited about their offered positions will lead you to success. Applying through various websites such as Linkedin, Indeed, Chegg Internships and Glassdoor while also directly applying through company websites can increase your chances of discovering internships that are fit for you.“You need to remember to have patience with the application and interview process as it can take a while,” said Jay Carmona, a sophomore at Fresno City College. Remember to be yourself and continue to apply.
Whether you scored the paid internship you wanted or applied to various internships throughout the day, take a step back and celebrate everything you’ve accomplished. Hopefully, you learned a wide range of skills that can help you throughout your paid internship journey. A paid internship in the summer can consist of intense labor. Remembering to celebrate the little things about the process can be good as you continue to work for the company.